Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Anti-transgender legislation rooted in lies & fear

Rewire, an independent newsletter, has an excellent breakdown on the rise of anti-transgender legislation in the United States, as well as how those advancing this legislation rely on fear tactics. A portion of the article reads as follows:

Anti-trans bathroom rhetoric is a perfectly whisked concoction of ignorance and fear for a general public still trying to come to terms with gender variance. Much like the false claim that same-sex marriages would diminish the long-standing heterosexual ones, the bathroom issue paints trans people as a threat to the safety of women and children—and usually white ones.

“The bathroom commercial that [HERO opponents] ran used a little white girl in the ad,” said Houston-based writer and blogger Monica Roberts. “They tapped into the fear and demonization of trans folks. It’s similar to the old Jim Crow fear of Black folks into generating a fear of trans folks.”
The Jim Crow tactic Roberts references relates to the idea that increased access for Black people in the United States—specifically Black men—would result in white women being at a higher risk of violence, harassment, and sexual assault. It was often used as a moral case against desegregation of public spaces in the South, but was exposed in Southern Horrors: Lynch Law In All of Its Phases by historic Black journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett. More recently, convicted murderer Dylann Roof seized on this trope as a reason for committing the Charleston massacre and taking the lives of nine Black people. President-elect Donald Trump also has used the it against Latinx communities when he insinuated that Mexicans are rapists in a campaign speech during the 2016 presidential election.

In a similar fashion, conservatives often strip trans women of their womanhood and paint them and all transfeminine individuals as hypermasculinized, hypersexual predators, despite a major lack of evidence for this case. However, due to continued ignorance on gender identity, anti-transgender politicians maintain a hold over the general public when it comes to the bathroom debate.

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